Oh my, what a delight. Headboggle’s latest full-length offering Polyphonic Demo delivers 44 minute-long treats of perfected chaos, like individual cuts of brined pastrami sliced at the deli counter. Intricate, charming, and decadent.
San Francisco’s Headboggle, née Derek Gedalecia, has been doing this for over a decade, but he’s never quite done this before. That is to say, not only is this his first album featuring dense harmonies on a polyphonic synthesizer, but it’s also the first in which he truly showcases his theatrical side like never before. Gedalecia has been known to injure himself and break his instruments onstage, cavorting around behind the keyboard, doing intentionally botched back-flips, trashing tables, and whatnot—but here the music itself plays the part.
Where else can you get the whimsical 8-bit style balms of Game Boy wonder in “Chill Out Room World,” – more hypnotic than the classic Pokemon games – alongside Jarrett-esque ragtime reveries like “Bell Rock,” and the S&M whiplash of “Stomp Ya Down” just a few minutes after the acid-burst Plantasia hymn “Baseball Fan”? There’s so much happening within so little time, but without feeling rushed or compressed in the least; it’s a deep and delectable sampling of Gedalecia’s infinite musical brain.
One might be deceived by the music video of “Blue Guitar,” in which Gedalecia gyrates over a keyboard on the shoulder of the I-580 freeway in Oakland, into thinking that this is a continuation of the weird ambient stylings of self-titled 2012 LP on the Spectrum Spools label, operating within one roughly consistent vernacular genre. Not so. Polyphonic Demo is closer on the family tree to Headboggle’s countless limited-run cassettes, with many revolving around a particular synthesizer model or recording experiment. It’s even closer to a live Headboggle experience, as if each minute were a flashback to a different concert you can only foggily remember.
You owe it to yourself to feast on this infinite musical buffet—just don’t break your back as you dive in.
Polyphonic Demo will be released by Ratskin Records on 22 April